Thursday, December 20, 2012

Footprints in the butter by Peter Mayle illustrated by Arthur Robbins

If I am famous for anything it is probably for introducing hundreds of children to Chilly Billy the little man who lives in your 'fridge and turns the light on and off.  The Amazing adventures of Chilly Billy is long out of print which is so sad.  An even more obscure book is the sequel Footprints in the butter.  In 1988 when I read Chilly Billy to a group of Year three children one of the parents from this group spied the sequel at a remainder book shop.  I am so lucky that she bought it for me.

Before you get really excited Footprints in the butter is a fun book to read but it is not nearly as fabulous as The Amazing Adventures of Chilly Billy.

As the story opens Lily or Chilly Lily as she is now known, spies footprints across the top of the butter.  Billy makes a sword from an icicle and the two set out to look for the culprit.  They don't find anyone but Billy has another wonderful tool in his collection (do you remember his amazing stretchy pole for cleaning?) - a Snooper - which lets him find anything that is breathing in the 'fridge.  The Snooper goes BeepBeepBeep near a large bump of ice.  Inside the ice is a ladybird - a gentleman named Spotty.  Now Lily and Billy have a huge dilemma - how will they free Spotty from his ice prison. Just like in the first book, Billy calls for help using his walkie talkie tuning into the I.C.E. (In Case of Emergencies) wavelength.  The Mad Jumper, Stripy Norman, Cousin Albert and a new character Orville the Very Fat Beetle all arrive to help.

Orville is very fat - can you guess how they crack the ice?  All Orville wants for a reward is a nice chunk of liver sausage.  As a thank you Spotty takes Lily and Billy on a flight around the 'fridge.

As in The Amazing Adventures of Chilly Billy, Footprints in the butter has delightful colour illustrations by Arthur Robbins and this second book is a larger format which allows you to get up close to the eccentric cast of characters.

I cannot say look for this book in your library because it won't be there but perhaps one day a publisher will discover this little gem and it will be republished - fingers crossed.

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